Page images
PDF
EPUB

first annual meeting; and although the nature of Sunday Schools may be now pretty generally understood, and the beneficial effects produced by the establishment of them rightly appreciated, it is presumed that some allusion to the nature and design of Sunday School Unions may not be altogether unnecessary on the present occasion. The committee would therefore beg permission to observe, that a Sunday School Union is the friendly association and cordial co-operation of the managers and teachers of various Sunday Schools belonging to different denominations of Christians, for the purpose of opening, organizing, and maintaining Sunday Schools in surrounding country villages where none had been before established, and thereby imparting to the uninstructed children of the neighbouring poor that kind of religious knowledge and instruction which the poor children of this and many other cities and large towns have been favoured with, more or less, for many years past. It may be further premised, that a Sunday School has for its grand object the realizing the pious wish of the venerable and truly patriotic monarch of this highly favoured country, whose benevolent and paternal feelings prompted him to say it was the warm desire of his royal heart that every poor man's child throughout his extensive dominions should be able to read the Bible. And if one individual school can so far attain this pleasing object as to impart such necessary instruction to some hundreds of poor children, what may not be done when the active managers and zealous teachers of several schools shall draw their energies into one common focus, and, regardless of all trifling differences and party distinctions, unite together for the holy purpose of benefiting their fellow-creatures?

Immediately after the formation of this Union the committee commenced its labours: upwards of seventy volunteer teachers were soon enrolled by the secretaries, who began their career of usefulness, agreeably to the original plan of the society, by the formation of schools, and extending the blessings of gratuitous and religious instruction to the poor children of neighbouring villages. How far the managers and teachers of the Bath Sunday School Union have succeeded in their humble attempt to do good, and how far the success which has accompanied their endeavours may have been commensurate with the nature and designs of the institution, let a statement of facts determine.

The following eighteen new schools have been opened under the auspices of the Union, in nearly the order in which they are arranged:

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Bishop-Sutton (including 16 adults)
Lyncombe and Widcombe, established at the
request of the minister, churchwardens, and
overseers, for the purpose of instructing the
children of the paupers belonging to the parish
Castle-Comb (including 11 adults) • •
Doynton ....

Marksbury

[blocks in formation]

N. B. These are the numbers at present belonging to the schools, but some hundreds more have been taught in them since their formation by the Bath Sunday School Union.

The schools at Twerton and Batheaston, which were previously established, have also been assisted and increased by the Union: although that at Batheaston has lately been subject to unfavourable fluctuations in consequence of the removal to a distant dis trict of an active and zealous individual, and the indisposition of a young friend of his who co-operated with the teachers of the Union. The number of scholars is now..

but the number of scholars at Twerton has been more than trebled, and the school is now in a very prosperous state, consisting of... • . • •

[ocr errors]

76

75

90

62

.174

220

30

151 .100 60

30

29

50

96

1572

Number of children belonging to the four Sunday
Schools in Bath that have been incorporated 1014
with the Union..

Total number......2586

The committee having thus reported, cannot, consistent with the duty imposed on them, omit this opportunity of reminding their country friends, in whose villages Sunday Schools have been or may be established, under the auspices of the Union, of the absolute necessity of rendering assistance and co-operating with its visiting teachers, in order to insure prosperity; and to give, under the Divine blessing, permanence and stability to such institutions, And it may not be unwise to remark in this place, that by the active zeal and co-operation of the friends at Bishop Sutton, CastleComb, Radstock, and Monkton-Comb, the several schools in those places soon became numerously attended, and exhibited a state of

prosperity which some other schools, opened at an earlier period, have not yet attained: the consequence of which has been, that the duty of the schools at three of the last mentioned places was performed in a very short time after their formation without assistance from Bath; whereby the teachers of the Union, who kindly visited them, were enabled to attend to the organization of new schools in other villages. This fact speaks more then a volume to country friends, and more than this it may be presumed would be unnecessary to say in behalf of zealous co-operation on their part.

The committee have not abandoned the idea of establishing schools for adults. Many grown-up persons have been taught to read in the country schools belonging to the Union, and the good work has been begun in Bath; much cannot however be done unless people become more inclined to learn, and until a sufficient number of persons shall come forward for the purpose of benefitting with instruction those who may be willing to receive it. The committee therefore embrace this opportunity of inviting the friends of both sexes to engage in this good work, and most earnestly recommend a careful perusal of Dr. Pole's "History of the Origin and Progress of Adult Schools," which contains much useful and necessary information.

The committee, however, feel considerable pleasure in having to congratulate the friends of the Bath Sunday School Union on the good that has been done, and on the number of schools which have been opened since the commencement of its labours, whereby upwards of fifteen hundred poor children have been favoured with religious instruction; and whereby several thousands of catechisms, hymn-books, and religious publications have been put into circulation; and by which means, in consequence of subscriptions opened for that purpose, more than eleven hundred bibles and testaments have been distributed among poor people in Bath and in the country villages, many of whom might never have been put in possession of the sacred oracles, had it not been for the exertions of the managers, and the activity of the teachers, belonging to this benevolent society. And it may be further remarked, that the secretaries and teachers of the Bath Sunday School Union have performed the part of active agents in forwarding the designs of the Bath Auxiliary British and Foreign Bible Society, by supplying many hundreds of poor families with the holy scriptures who would not have applied to the office in Bath for them.

The committee would feel considerable reluctance in closing its report without expressing the warmest approbation of the praiseworthy conduct of the young friends belonging to the several different religious denominations in this city, who so nobly volunteered their services as teachers in the Bath Sunday School Union, and who have so cheerfully devoted their time and their talents to the honourable employment of instructing the ignorant, and of imparting some knowledge of Jesus Christ and his great salvation to

multitudes of those poor children who might otherwise have perished for lack of it; and while the committee bear public testimony to their activity and zeal, and to their successful exertions in this good work of the Lord; and while the blessing of those who were ready to perish shall rest upon them, it is most devoutly to be wished that thousands and tens of thousands of such laborious missionaries for the home department may engage in the same holy employ, and that Sunday Schools and Sunday School Unions may continue to increase till not only every poor man's child in these united kingdoms may be qualified to read the bible, but until every individual inhabitant of the whole peopled earth shall be made wise unto salvation, and obtain a knowledge of the glorious gospel of our blessed Lord and Saviour, by searching the sacred scriptures for themselves.

Extract from the BATH GAZETTE.

AMONG the rational festivities and entertainments on account of the restoration of the blessings of peace, we have neither heard nor seen any more worthy of recording than that given on the Thanksgiving-day to the poor children of the Bath Sunday-School Union, on the Bowling-green, near the North-parade. The chil dren walked in procession from their respective schools; they were all assembled by two o'clock in the afternoon to the amount of upwards of eleven hundred, as some had come in from the schools at Monkton-Comb, Comb-down, and Newton, those belonging to many other schools not being invited on account of their greater distance from Bath. It is impossible for language to do justice to the sight when all were seated in circles on the grass; it reminded us of our blessed Saviour's benevolence when he took compassion on the hungry multitude, and commanded them to sit down on the grass in order that they might be fed. The tables were arranged round the green, all groaning under the weight of good English fare, one of each to about 50 children, where were stationed two or three gentlemen of the committee, who were employed as carvers. The boys were placed on one side of the circle and the girls on the other, and waited on by their respective teachers, and many visitors, who felt inexpressible pleasure in being so delightfully engaged.-On signal being made by the sound of the bugle from the centre of the tables, all the children instantaneously stood up, and the hats of the boys simultaneously flew off as if by magic, when Mr. Pearson, one of the secretaries, gave out the following lines for the grace before meat; Be present at our table, Lord, Be here and every where ador'd; Thy creatures bless, and grant that we May feast in Paradise with thee,

[ocr errors]

The band immediately struck up, and children and teachers united in singing the above to the tune of the old hundredth psalm, which had a most wonderful effect upon the minds of thousands of spec. tators, excited the most sublime sensations, and drew tears of love and joy from numberless eyes. During dinner the band played 'Rule Britannia? and other favourite airs; but it was really astonishing to see, after the children began their dinner, how soon the numerous joints of solid meat and vast piles of plum-pudding were demolished, so as scarcely to "leave a wreck behind." After dinner, on a signal being given by the sound of the bugle, all the children again immediately stood up, and sung to the Portuguese tune, accompanied by the band,

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow, &c.

The feelings produced by the lifting up of so many infant voices in praise of the bountiful Benefactor and Parent of mankind are not to be described; it brought to our recollection that passage of scripture which says-" Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise;" and we could not help anticipating that delightful period when Sunday-Schools and Sunday-School Unions shall, under the direction of an all-wise Providence, have accomplished all that was intended by the establishment of them, and produced the blessed effects of imparting useful knowledge to all the uninformed children of men, and of expelling ignorance, with its accompaniments, vice and misery, from the face of the earth.

The children were plentifully supplied with table beer with their dinner, and were afterwards treated with strong beer.-The following toasts were given by Mr. Whitchurch, the other secretary, at each of which the children all stood up on hearing the sound of the bugle:

To the King, the patron of education, and friend of poor children.'

To the Mayor and Corporation, and prosperity to the city of Bath.'

To the memory of Mr. Robert Raikes, the founder of Sunday Schools in England, and to all those benevolent persons who are friendly to the instruction of the rising generation.'

We are sorry that this innocent festivity was so soon broken up on account of the rain. Much more was comprehended in the plan than has been mentioned. The children were, after dinner, to have walked in procession, with the flags of each school, through the principal streets of the city, accompanied by the band, their several teachers, and the gentlemen of the committee, preceded by the secretaries. But enough has been said to shew the difference between order and disorder, and to convince the thinking part of mankind what may be accomplished by those who

« PreviousContinue »